Interior Design for Rental properties

The venture into your first rental property is an adjustment, and along with those currently renting, there’s no need to give up on aspirations of creating an interior worthy of your favourite glossy magazine. The first step starts with a change of mind set.



To make someone else’s house your home it’s simple a case of buying and decorating with furnishings in a style that suits you. It sounds obvious but altering or removing pieces that aren’t in keeping will have a huge impact.

Over the past twelve months I’ve been working on unique ways to apply the principles of Interior Design to rentals that result in being able to reshape a property without loosing your deposit.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting ideas broken down by surface, looking into each need and function within a home I’ll explain how you can execute ideas that best suits to your needs, space and finance.

There are two ways you can address interior design, either by room function; living room, bedroom and kitchen etc or by surface and material– wall, floor, lighting etc. For the posts I have chosen the latter so you are able to apply the treatment to the room that best suits your needs, space and finances. Depending on your property, a lighting idea for the kitchen could also be suitable in a living room scenario. Equally an idea on how to add colour to walls in the living room could work in a bedroom. Whether you have an unfurnished and furnished property, each post will be filled with ways you can personalise your space.

This week, in part one,  it’s all about Invest in the future.



As teenagers we all dream about finishing school, starting university or work and leaving the confines of the parental home. A place where you can paint your room whatever colour you choose and hang pictures where ever you feel. The adventure into your first rental is an adjustment as you realise that you’re no longer the master of your domain and have to request permission to alter a space. Whether you choose to rent with friends, a partner or by yourself the journey can be unnerving. The image you build in your mind is one of space, a flat our home that you can paint, nail or alter to a style more suited to you. We start to collate pages of magazine showing the sofa you’d like to buy and the colour you’d like your bedroom. The wish-lists for birthdays and Christmas consists of toaster, kettle and cutlery. You start to nest and accumulate your favourite bed linen, artwork and towels all with the aim of creating and moving into your first property.

To keep a step ahead of the competition you need to be stealth like in your plan to obtain the property that speaks to you. Whether you are trudging around estate agents or scouring the late nights over the internet, you need to start to hone the list of possible contenders based on price and size. Depending the city and country, you could be viewing a property with up to 30 or 40 adversaries to the polar opposite of it being yourself. The experience can leave you feeling deflated and insignificant.

Viewing properties can be daunting and it’s at this point the realisation of what they cost compared with your mental image doesn’t correspond. The vision of what can be dated appliances and slightly soiled carpet can be disheartening but don’t despair. Ok, so you might not be able to wallpaper walls and build wardrobe to house your shoe fetish but there are superficial changes that can be made to a rental. None being expensive or resulting in you loosing your security deposit. With written consent from the landlord you can create a home by more than merely installing your furniture with the hope of painting the walls. You need to harness your creativity and skills, or a friends!

The first step towards making someone’s rental property your home is changing your mind set. Most people think of it as temporary situation or a couple of years at most but the average period of renting in the UK is sixteen years and is set to increase. Sixteen years of renting is a long time to feel like you’re camping, metaphorically speaking, in someone else’s home. Creating a home that feels safe, cocooning and constant enables us to cope with change and the pressures life. Home is a foundation on which everything is built.



Your house: My home
Don’t get caught in the trap of decorating to suit a specific property, or buying to make do. The first step towards making someone else’s house your home is buying and decorating with furnishings in a style that suits you. Surrounding yourself with items that make you happy and hold dear. Buying a farmhouse table for kitchen that stylistically works with a property or equally, buying a Victorian mantle mirror for a period home, will exacerbate the feeling it’s not your home when you would never consciously buy such pieces. Assess the space and decide whether it’s possible to swap functions of rooms around. It your saw as a living room could work for you as the bedroom. Don’t let the property dictate how you live. Whether it is this property or the next, you and your much love possessions are the key to making their rental your home. So don’t let renting prevent you from creating your home today as opposed to waiting for your ‘real home’. The layering of vintage items with inherited pieces and flea market curios will give a sense of past and add character to a property. Eclecticism is a way of life these days, so blending your pieces with any existing furniture and establish your own sense of style. The term ‘more dash than cash’ produces some of the most interesting interiors. Display collections that reflect your personality.

Invest in what you want first time around!
When I first left home and rented with a group of friends, I like most people had a list of furniture I needed to buy. It consisted of the normal things; sofa, dining table and chairs, rug etc. Listed next to each I noted the ‘want’ followed but the most likely, ‘will get’, or should I say the designer dream followed by, the most likely Ikea purchase. The Ikea’s of the world have their place but remember they’re not about longevity.

Create a list consisting of two columns. On the left list everything needed with the right column being everything you want. The difference being the one you can afford whilst the other is an investment. By investing in the large items like a sofa and bed you will ensure they withstand the test of time. Of course, apply this to items that can move easily such as seating, rugs, lighting and art. These small and portable items will transform a rental into a home. Mixing High St. bargains with designer purchases shows that you’re nesting rather than passing through.


Next week:

Colour: Personality: Character
Preparation: Plan before you sign
Permission. Permission. Permission.
Making good.

One Comment

  1. I love the richness of the blue in the bedroom! Nice job! It really makes it pop!